This piece originally appeared at The Hill.
Martin Luther King often spoke of the need for unconditional love. In 1955, he told Black America, “We want to love our enemies — be good to them. This is what we must live by; we must meet hate with love. We must love our white brothers no matter what they do to us.” In his remarks on the King holiday, President Trump referred to love five times in three sentences.
“[King] would later write, ‘It was quite easy for me to think of a god of love mainly because I grew up in a family where love was central.’ That is what Reverend King preached all his life. Love. Love for each other, for neighbors, and for our fellow Americans. Dr. King’s faith in his love for humanity led him and so many heroes to courageously stand up for civil rights of African-Americans,” Trump said.
That is a whole lot of love, especially if it is the kind that says we love you no matter what you do to or say about us. I am not discounting the power of love, but celebrations of King focus on his “dream” and what he saw “at the mountaintop” because those things focus on the hoped-for end result: racial justice, brought about by love.
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